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A Drink of Reality
Photo: Scott Maxwell
If you have ever been wronged by someone at church or known anyone who has had their feelings hurt by other Christians, this story is for you. Now that I have everyone’s attention, I’ll begin.

Years ago I had a brain aneurysm and surgery. I was very blessed to have lived through the last major bleed and to get an excellent surgeon. But some days it was hard to remember I was fortunate, because recovery was a long, hard, humbling experience. Once I could walk unaided, I set the goal of feeding myself and drinking from a glass by Thanksgiving.

Tremors and impaired motor skills complicated eating, and the left side paralysis made drinking from a glass quite messy. Somehow liquid always escaped from the uncooperative side of my mouth. I could drink using a straw without a problem, but wanted to be able to drink from a glass again. Day after day I’d try with the outcome being that part of my drink would be consumed, and part would be absorbed by my shirt.

I clearly remember sitting with gathered family at the table that Thanksgiving and wanting to enjoy the occasion. Disappointingly, I wasn’t able to drink from a glass yet, and I couldn’t stand the light or noise. Frustrated and discouraged, I went to a dark, quiet room. But did I give up? No. I persevered and eventually was able to drink from a glass and set myself new, loftier goals.

Stinging Point of Truth

It wasn’t until years later when I was reflecting on my recovery that I was hit by this stinging point of truth. I had struggled to relearn to drink from a glass when I could have used a straw, and it wouldn’t have changed my quality of life. But, when I had encountered frustrations and disappointments with fellow Christians at church I had thrown up my hands and walked away.

I don’t know other people’s challenges or goals, but we all have them. Some people are always on a diet, some people lift weights, others spend considerable time on their hair, etc. in an effort to achieve a fleeting, physical result. Why is it we are willing to work for physical things when we know the results are temporary, but when it comes to spiritual things with eternal results, we want to give up when we run into repeated challenges or discouragements?

When I honestly faced this question it changed my perspective, and I got a drink of a deeper reality.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (Hebrews 12:1).

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Donice Palmer. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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